Felix Rosenqvist

Rosenqvist and Palou claim pole positions for Thermal heat races


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Felix Rosenqvist and reigning champion Alex Palou will start their respective heat races at Thermal Club from pole position.

The two halves of the 27-car field each had eight minutes to qualify around the winding, 17-turn track. With lap times approaching 100 seconds, drivers had little time to bank an error-free run to claim the best possible starting positions for tomorrow’s 10-lap encounters which decide the starting positions for the final.

Ganassi’s Scott Dixon made the early running in the first group of 14 drivers, though Rosenqvist was quick from the off. Dixon continued to circulate, improving on his original time.

Christian Lundgaard opted to make a single run and put himself on top with a 1’38.6394. That was quickly pipped by Scott McLaughin and Rinus Veekay, who each had hundredths of second in hand. Rosenqvist found as much with his final run, claiming the top spot by just two hundredths from McLaughlin.

Josef Newgarden briefly led the times at one point but fell to fifth ahead of Will Power and Juncos Hollinger duo Romain Grosjean and Agustin Canapino. Dixon fell to ninth ahead of Santino Ferrucci.

Tyre degradation proved severe and drivers who performed multiple laps found it increasingly difficult to improve. Colton Herta discovered that the hard way and had to settle for 11th, two places ahead of team mate Kyle Kirkwood.

In the second session, Palou played himself in with a steady lap of 1’44.2926 at first. Pato O’Ward led after the first runs and stayed there with a 1’39.2575 but that was soon beaten by a string of rivals including Callum Ilott, his substitute team mate at McLaren.

Marcus Ericsson was on course to improve his time when he spun backwards into a barrier at turn eight, smashing the rear of his Andretti car into a barrier. The session was red-flagged and Ericsson lost his earlier time, leaving him last of the 13 runners in heat two.

Once the session restarted, the Ganassi drivers found enough life left in his tyres to jump into the top three places, Palou leading Marcus Armstrong and Linus Lundqvist. However Graham Rahal split the Ganassi trio with a last-gasp effort for third.

That relegated Tom Blomqvist to fifth while a late effort by Pietro Fittipaldi put him sixth. Alexander Rossi led the McLaren trio, who were drawn together in heat two, and Kyffin Simpson will start 10th.

Times to follow

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Rosenqvist and Palou claim pole positions for Thermal heat races”

  1. Quite the camera shots from Thermal. A beautiful place for petrol heads and race fans.

  2. Ilott and O’Ward were the only ones not to run after the red flag I think and got jumped by most of the group. Is it known why they didn’t go out? They both were looking good before that.

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